COVID-19 Legislative Update - 3-20-2020
Policy Resolution Group COVID-19 Legislative Update March 20, 2020 Phase Three Begins
• Phase Three has a name. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Thursday rolled out the Senate Republicans’ “Phase Three” COVID-19 response proposal, The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act , an opening proffer in what will now turn to bipartisan negotiations to arrive at a final package. • Key Parts of CARES Act . As we laid out yesterday, the CARES Act is chiefly meant to put money immediately in the hands of individuals and families trying to make rent, small businesses trying to make payroll, and affected industries just trying to keep the lights on. o Its components reflect these priorities: $1200 checks to most taxpayers, a $300 billion infusion to small businesses, $208 billion in relief to sectors hardest hit, including airlines, and broad- based business tax measures meant to accelerate cash flow and loosen strictures on borrowing. • Democrats react to CARES Act . The ball is now in the Democrats’ court. WhileMcConnell and his members formally begin negotiations today with the Senate minority, the decision of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to release a joint statement in response to the GOP proposal is a reflection of their intention to speak with one voice. With no time to ping-pong between the chambers, the Senate is the last best opportunity to secure any changes House Democrats might desire. Those priorities stood out as the unmistakable refrain in responses by leading Democrats. o Schumer and Pelosi called for “increasing unemployment insurance and Medicaid…[and] expanding paid sick and family leave.” o Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden (D-OR) slammed the GOP bill as “do[ing] nothing to expand unemployment assistance for those who have lost their jobs overnight.” o Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) called the package “inadequate” , chiding that "scores of recently unemployed Americans... are counting on expanded unemployment benefits... to save them from financial ruin." o On the bill’s business related provisions, the message was equally clear. Pelosi and Schumer called for “new, strong and strict provisions” on buybacks, executive compensation, and layoffs for corporate beneficiaries, effectively calling for policy strings to be placed on any bailouts a la 2008. Wyden laid out a similar vision in his priorities .
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